RPG a Day 2023 – Most Memorable Encounter

Rather than going for “Most Memorable Encounter” of all time, let’s talk about the most memorable encounter of the last year: “The Offer”.

Chapter 2 of the Lair of Secret’s Cyberpunk RED actual play campaign saw the edge runners tasked with stealing black box corporate tech for the Maker Enclave. The Makers – whose motto is “We Aggressively Void Warranties” – wanted to liberate the technology from Zetatech, so they could crack it and release it to the world.

Rather than liberate the black box from its Zetatech warehouse, the edgerunners waited until the self-driving tractor-trailer arrived to transport it. After determining the AI-driven truck’s path south, they headed out on the state highway to set up an ambush at a salvage yard next to the road.

The plan went off reasonably well and the session ended on a cliffhanger: just as the crew popped open the trailer to snag its cargo, they caught sight of a Zetatech Aerocop en route to their location.

As Chapter 3: The Offer opened, the Zetatech aircraft streaked toward the characters, then quickly landed and did something unexpected: they started talking.

The lead Zetatech agent made them an offer: turn on the Makers and work for Zetatech. They’d get a big upfront signing bonus, plus guaranteed work going forward. The crew’s Solo had previously set up a sniper position on top of a nearby convenience store and CHOOH2 refueling station. After the agent gave her pitch, the Solo swapped out his assault rifle for his just-purchased rocket launcher … and fired on the Zetatech contingent.

A firefight ensued that saw the Solo critically injured by shrapnel and most of the Zetatech team – but not the lead agent – killed. The edgerunners made good their escape, but it was far from clean. The encounter itself was awesome – lots of great dice rolls, tense role-playing, and cinematic combat.

The best part of the encounter is what it set up in Chapter 4 and Chapter 5. The crew’s Nomad saw the rocket launcher attack as excessive and unneeded. Worse, it endangered the crew, gained them a new enemy, and prevented a clean getaway. In Chapter 4: Aftershocks, this led to palpable tension as the team’s Netrunner tried to comfort (and talk down) the Nomad. Meanwhile, in Chapter 5: Downtime and the Living is Easy.

I enjoyed running the Cyberpunk RED campaign before the events of Chapter 3, but that session and its aftermath kicked it to the next level for me. It has me looking forward to Season 4 of the Lair of Secrets and the next Cyberpunk RED arc … and scheming about new complications to throw at the characters.

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Artwork from the Cyberpunk RED episode. Credit: Lair of Secrets.

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